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Experimentation in Two-Sided Markets

  • Peitz, Martin
  • Rady, Sven
  • Trepper, Piers

We study optimal experimentation by a monopolistic platform in a two-sided market framework. The platform provider faces uncertainty about the strength of the externality each side is exerting on the other. It maximizes the expected present value of its profit stream in a continuous-time infinite-horizon framework by setting participation fees or quantities on both sides. We show that a price-setting platform provider sets a fee lower than the myopically optimal level on at least one side of the market, and on both sides if the two externalities are of approximately equal strength. If the externality that one side exerts is sufficiently weaker than the externality it experiences, the optimal fee on this side exceeds the myopically optimal level. We obtain analogous results for expected prices when the platform provider chooses quantities. While the optimal policy does not admit closed-form representations in general, we identify special cases in which the undiscounted limit of the model can be solved in closed form.

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Paper provided by C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers in its series CEPR Discussion Papers with number 8670.

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Date of creation: Nov 2011
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Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:8670
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  1. Mirman, L.J. & Samuelson, L. & Schlee, E.E., 1991. "Strategic Information Manupulation in Duopolies," Papers 9137, Tilburg - Center for Economic Research.
  2. Kaiser, Ulrich & Wright, Julian, 2004. "Price Structure in Two-sided Markets: Evidence from the Magazine Industry?," ZEW Discussion Papers 04-80, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
  3. Keller, Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 2001. "Price Dispersion and Learning in a Dynamic Differentiated-Goods Duopoly," Discussion Papers in Economics 21, University of Munich, Department of Economics.
  4. Harrington Jr. , Joseph E., 1995. "Experimentation and Learning in a Differentiated-Products Duopoly," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 66(1), pages 275-288, June.
  5. Marc Rysman, 2004. "Competition Between Networks: A�Study of the Market for Yellow�Pages," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 71(2), pages 483-512, 04.
  6. Jean-Charles Rochet & Jean Triole, 2002. "Platform competition in two sided markets," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 24929, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Rothschild, Michael, 1974. "A two-armed bandit theory of market pricing," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 9(2), pages 185-202, October.
  8. Marc Rysman, 2009. "The Economics of Two-Sided Markets," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 23(3), pages 125-43, Summer.
  9. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521681599 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Nocke, Volker & Peitz, Martin & Stahl, Konrad, 2004. "Platform Ownership," CEPR Discussion Papers 4657, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  11. Prescott, Edward C, 1972. "The Multi-Period Control Problem Under Uncertainty," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 40(6), pages 1043-58, November.
  12. Keller, Godfrey & Rady, Sven, 1999. "Optimal Experimentation in a Changing Environment," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(3), pages 475-507, July.
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